fighting spam and scams on the Internet
"419" Scam – Advance Fee / Fake Lottery Scam
The so-called "419" scam is a type of fraud dominated by criminals from Nigeria and other countries in Africa. Victims of the scam are promised a large amount of money, such as a lottery prize, inheritance, money sitting in some bank account, etc.
Victims never receive this non-existent fortune but are tricked into sending their money to the criminals, who remain anonymous. They hide their real identity and location by using fake names and fake postal addresses as well as communicating via anonymous free email accounts and mobile phones.
Keep in mind that scammers DO NOT use their real names when defrauding people.
The criminals either abuse names of real people or companies or invent names or addresses.
Any real people or companies mentioned below have NO CONNECTION to the scammers!
Read more about such scams here or in our 419 FAQ. Use the Scam-O-Matic to verify suspect emails.
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Some comments by the Scam-O-Matic about the following email:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- This email uses a separate reply address that is different from the sender address. Spammers use this to get replies even when the original spam sending accounts have been shut down. Also, sometimes the sender addresses are legitimate looking but fake and only the reply address is actually an email account controlled by the scammers.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "into your nominated bank account" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
- "million united states dollars" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
- "hundred thousand united states dollars" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
- ",500,000" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
- "00,000.00" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
- "contract award committee" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- This email lists free webmail addresses. Use of such addresses is typical for scams. Lotteries, banks and any but the smallest of companies do not normally use such addresses. Criminals use them to anonymously send and receive email at Internet cafes.
- email@example.com (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "peter" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: "peter" <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 25 Nov 2016 11:44:07 -0700
My name is Peter Nkosi, a Director with the contract award committee of Eskom
Company Ltd, Republic of South Africa. It is my profound intention to contact you for this very important and highly confidential transaction for the transfer of US$18,500, 000.00 into your account. The Eighteen million, Five hundred thousand ($18,500,000.00) was the overestimated balance from the contracts awarded to both foreign and local contractors the real contract value was One hundred and Twenty million united states dollars ($120 000 000), but it was over estimated to the tune of (US$138,500, 000, 00) One hundred and Thirty Eight million, Five Hundred Thousand united states dollars only.
The contract has been successfully executed by the contractors and their contract sum of (US$120M) has been paid to them, leaving our overestimated balance of (US$18,500, 000. 00) United States dollars still pending at the bank. Right now, we are left with this overestimated balance of (US$18.5M) which is still floating at the escrow account in the South African reserve bank awaiting final payment to any reliable foreign bank account you may provide.
I’m prepared to offer you 30% of the fund after a successful transfer into your nominated bank account.
Please get back to me for further communication.